Epic Battles and Performance
Kingdoms Age will have two game modes, i.e. the single player campaign and the online/multiplayer persistent world. The online persistent world will allow players to interact with AI Factions in a vast world map where their actions can have an indirect and sometimes even a direct effect on the game world. We will talk about the depth of the persistent world another day, as today we will focus on the second most important layer in Kingdoms Age, real time battles.
For the past few weeks we have been working on several optimizations in battle, in order to facilitate large-epic battles of thousands of fantasy troops on screen. The goal, from the very beginning, was to create a realistic strategy/tactical game with battles, where up to 6 players can participate, with unique armies composed of units chosen from a variety of different archetypes and races, all with their own unique stats and abilities. To be able to have thousands of troops and up to 60 units on screen is not an easy task, and it involves a lot of hard work, creativity and hundreds of hours of iteration. As our battles will be in full 3D and players will have the option to command their armies in real time, through the eyes of one of the heroes using Oculus VR, it is very important to have high resolution models and very smooth animations, but also make sure that even players with low end rigs (Dual core CPUs) can experience a smooth gameplay experience. It is quite a task considering the thousands of troops moving/fighting, spells being cast, weather effects, and many more scripts that will be running in the background (battle mechanics, troop positions, AI, physics, sounds, etc. etc.).
So far, we were able to field 60 units or 4000 troops on screen at 45 FPS using a dual core CPU (2.4 Ghz) and at 60+ FPS on a dual core CPU (3.5Ghz). We are quite happy with the results, though we always follow our motto “The enemy of good is…better!”, so we are still after further improvements which will allow us to increase the total number of troops on screen and possibly have the game playable on platforms/rigs with lower hardware specs.
Kingdoms Age is currently in Pre-Alpha.